Russell in Portland asks some questions about virtual staging:
During the slow winter months I've been going through my past shoots collecting "digital furnishings" in an effort to build a library for "virtual staging". I don't see anyone in my area offering this service, but there is a handful found on the web. I have a couple questions about the practice of virtual staging:
Am I within the RMLS rules when I add furnishings? My feeling is that if I don't make any changes to "permanent" items, such as telephone poles, wires or walls, I'm within the limits. Some agents question ANY changes.
Next, it looks to me like these "other" virtual staging companies don't do the actual photography, but edit existing images. Isn't this a direct violation of U.S. copyright laws?
First of all, my sense is that virtual staging isn't all that popular. Here is my guess why:
- It's hard to do well. So those that do it well charge a fair amount. Sure, it's less than actually getting the home staged but by the majority of agents standards it's expensive. You'd have to charge as much for virtual staging as you do a shoot since it's time-consuming.
- Virtual staging only addresses half the vacant listing problem. When a potential buyer arrives they still see a vacant home. My personal experience is that real staging really pays off. My wife and I used to spend about $1500 to $2000 to stage the main rooms of a vacant listing back in 1999 to 2008 and it was well worth the expense. Having the home staged when the buyer is walking through the home is important!
I doubt that virtual staging violates any MLS rules or any copyright laws as long as you own the copyright to the furniture images that you use to do it with. To see if your local agents would even pay for it, you'd have to test it in your area. My guess is it wouldn't be worthwhile unless you supplied it worldwide and competed with companies like virtuallystagingproperties.com
who are really good at it.
Anyone else have any insights or experience with virtual staging?